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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where was Moses When the Lights Went Out?

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for New England LED Lantern

Where was Moses when the lights went out?  If you said Wal-Mart you are right.  Well, Moses, Bobbie, Sharon, Jerry, Steve, me and about 200 other people.  We were all in Wal-Mart the other day when the store lost power.

Now losing electricity is a common occurrence when you live behind the Pine Cone Curtain.  Tall pine trees, shallow root system, soaked earth, and a gentle breeze will almost guarantee falling pines and downed power lines. And when you are at home it can be an inconvenience for an hour or two or eight but when you are in Wal-Mart, well that is a black-out of another color.

I was on my second visit of the day to Wal-Mart.  Hey, some social media folks hound Facebook hourly; I choose to wander the aisles of Wal-Mart two or three times a day.  My face appears on their video tapes so much that the employees call me by name.  As I went up and down the aisles noting which brands had moved up to eye level on the shelves and which ones had dropped to the bottom shelf, I heard the thunder.  A few minutes later the lights flickered, then went out. As I looked all the way down action alley I could see the rain pounding the pavement.  Might as well see if Pedigree had been bumped to the bottom shelf by Beniful.

“Jody, lease make your way to the front of the store” came from a silver haired lady wearing a blue vest. 

“I can do that, Madge.”

I moved toward the front of the store thankful for the skylights and noted the bakery and frozen food area had full lights.   A generator no doubt.  Donuts and TV dinners rule!

As I arrived at the front of the store, I glanced behind me.  It looked like the Spanish Armada of shopping carts was descending on the unmanned check out stations. Ten minutes passed, fifteen, twenty.  Pools of melting ice cream spread between ships of the Spanish Armada.  Previously frozen pizzas took on the shape of bottles and boxes beneath them in the carts.   Blue vests, maroon vests huddled with long sleeved-white-shirts-and-tie types. At one point a blue vest went from aisle shouting that it would be at least an hour possible more  before power could be restored and the cash registers would be up and running.  At that point it was as if someone had shouted:

                                                     ABANDON CARTS!

Wal-Mart emptied faster than a Baptist church on game day with a 12:10 kick-off.  The abandoned Spanish Armada was left becalmed on a sticky sea.  I hesitated wondering what to do about the half consumed Coke in my basket and the opened package of M&M’s beside it.  Hey, I got thirsty and hungry waiting for the lights to come on.  Being basically honest, I asked a Blue Vest what to do.  “Just forget about it.”  So I did.

Not knowing what the Wal-Mart policy was on semi-melted food, I was a little wary of any Wal-Mart “Specials” the next day.   However, I did notice Moses stocking up on ice cream and misshaped pizzas.

Tip:  Eat a full meal before you go grocery shopping.  You will save money and avoid spilled cookies, chips, crackers, and pretzels on the way to the check-out counter.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Zip Zap A-Dee-Do-Da

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Marketing 101.

We are nearing that most wonderful time of the year…the starting of school.  To mask my total elation and lessen the clouds of gathering gloom of my soon-to-enter fourth-and-eighth grade children, I suggested a trip to Zip Nac, our very own homegrown zip line adventure course.

Keeping true to my adept bargaining skills, I chose to go on the day after the Kids Discount so I could pay the full price of admission. 

“Come on.  It will be fun.  The big finale to our summer.” 

We arrived without reservations…I mean we had not made any reservations.  As luck would have it, there just happened to be two empty spaces in the next group going out. 

“Hey, that’s my old violin teacher.  What’s she doing here?” came from the thirteen-year old.

“Former, former violin teacher.  We don’t say old and I guess she wants to zip through the trees, too.”

I signed all the necessary release forms and the children were harnessed up.  I was satisfied with Zip-Nac’s extensive safety equipment, especially the strength of their double cables capable of hoisting two cars along the zip line although I do not know why you would ever want to send two cars zipping along a cable, double or otherwise.

While the children and music teacher were zipping along the tree tops, I consulted my Summer Count Down Till School Starts clock.  Eight days, four hours, and thirty-two minutes till First Day Drop Off.  Yes.

The children finished the last Zip, all smiles with only a couple of bug smatterings showing on their teeth.

“Can we get a Zip Nac t-shirt so everyone at school will know we survived?”

“If you show up breathing, won’t that be proof enough?”


“How about if I make you a copy of my credit card statement with Zip Nac in red?”

“T-shirt!  T-shirt!  T-shirt!”

Ok, I admit I was proud that they ascended the three story tower, swung from a tiny clip on super strong cables, and flew through the trees without crying for mercy.  T-shirts for both.

Now here is where I think they put the marketing ZAP in the ZIP.  First the kids were presented with rubber ZIP Nac bracelets.

“Only people who have completed the zip line course will have one of these.  You can’t buy them in any store so if you see someone wearing one of these, you know they have done the course.”….[all 15,282 of them].

“And if you Zipped with us today, your t-shirt is 1/3 off plus you can design your own,” came from salesperson #2.

A-ha!  My chance to revitalize my temporarily atrophied bargain seeking muscle.

“We’ll take two.”

“Follow me to our t-shirt room.”  Translation, t-shirt storage closet.

Blank t-shirts of every size and color were stacked along two walls.  On the third wall were several t-shirt transfer choices in black or white above a table with a t-shirt transfer machine.

For 1/3 off, the children were empowered to design their one of a kind, but odds are probably like someone else’s, t-shirt.  The power was intoxicating.  The nine-year-old slapped a transfer on the front of his t-shirt and placed it on the machine.  When the bell dinged, he raised the lid and ripped off the paper.  Instant transformation.  The blue shirt now had the Zip Nac logo.  He was so excited he put another transfer on the back.  Again, instant art.  Then he added CONQURED to the bottom of the front, and two more designs on the sleeves.  He looked like a Zip Line NASCAR driver.  Every part of his shirt had some kind of design or logo.  He was a walking billboard advertisement for Zip Nac. This was repeated by the thirteen-year-old.

 You can’t buy that kind of publicity.  Well, actually I did, but for 1/3 off!

TIP:  Stash some suckers or snack size candy (non melting kind) in your car to avoid over priced snacks at entertainment events.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Pass the bronchitis, please!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for cough medicine and Depends.

I always thought walking pneumonia, or in my case walking bronchitis, meant you were sick but still walking around.  According to my doctor it means the disease is making the rounds, walking from one person in the family to the next.

I don’t know why I am surprised.  In our family, we are at both ends of the “most likely to get” spectrum, that being the young and the elderly.  It started with the nine-year-old.  Since he is prone to pneumonia, we wasted no time in getting him to the doctor for antibiotics and cough medicine only this time it was bronchitis.  Next it walked its way to Dr. Hubby who kept walking or riding on the tractor trying to outrun it which he did for a while.  Bronchitis then jumped on the teenager who was sure she would rather die than try to swallow a pill.  I was the last in line, weakened I am sure by the administering of fluids, ice cream, and cough medicine on a 24/7 basis. 

I tried to fight it on my own but at a certain age, your body is more willing to wave the white flag than you are.  Back to the doctor for a shot, antibiotics, and more cough medicine, this time prescribed by the quart for the entire family.  Pills were also prescribed for the still hacking teenager whose performance of “I’m dying from trying to swallow a pill” has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Most Over-acted Dramatic Near-Death Performance by a teenager with limited audience.  I am sure she will win.

To date, the nine-year-old has stopped coughing and has resumed running around shirtless chasing frogs, turtles, and squirrels in the woods.  Dr. Hubby has successfully outrun the bronchitis but not a ground wasp that nailed him on his back.  Our Academy Award Nominee has one more performance…er…pill to go.  I am working on Day 13 of the Walking Bronchitis. 

I think it has finished its walk and has stopped for a vacation in my chest.  The good news is that due to constant coughing, my waist is two inches smaller.  The bad news is the coughing has caused my bladder muscles to react in a most embarrassing way.  While the others cough and race for the box of Kleenex, I race for the bathroom. 

Sometimes I make it.

TIP:  Put several paper towels in a gallon zip-lock bag, the kind with the slider.  Makes a great portable barf bag.